A recent college graduate, Molly is launching her web marketing career with TKG as an online marketing and content specialist. You’ll frequently find her talking content marketing, social media and more.

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Digital Trends to Watch Out for in 2016

Digital Marketing WordsOnline marketing is a constantly changing industry, and with each new evolution comes a host of new challenges and opportunities. That’s why, at the end of each year, we take time to reflect on the year behind us, and think about where our industry is heading.

So as 2015 comes to a close, we’re putting together our list of digital trends that we predict will have the biggest impact in the upcoming year. Read on for an exclusive look into the digital trends projected to shake up 2016:

1. Increasing Need for Marketing Automation

Let’s be honest, most visitors won’t make a purchase the first time they visit your site. That’s because it takes time and repeat exposure to form the kinds of relationships that lead to conversions.

In order to facilitate meaningful relationships in 2016, it will become essential to filter content and tailor your messaging to meet your audience’s needs. Personalized follow-up content goes a long way in establishing relevant touchpoints with your audience, and could make a serious impact on your conversion rates.

2. Immersive, Interactive Content will be King

In 2016, interactive content will become necessary for a successful digital presence. No longer is text-based content enough to tell your story. Without immersive, visual storytelling, your content will simply not be as effective in 2016.

Here’s a particularly compelling example from BuzzStream: In 2013, the most popular pieces of content from both BuzzFeed and the New York Times had something in common. And it was not that they were well-researched, journalistic pieces. They were quizzes. And this trend is not going away. As we move into the New Year, effective content will need to actively engage your audience. Passive content simply won’t cut it.

3. Data Will Help Guide Digital Efforts

Consumer behavior has become increasingly complex in recent history, a trend that we expect to continue into 2016. More sophisticated data analysis will be necessary in the New Year in order to understand this complex consumer behavior and guide digital marketing efforts going forward.

If you’re not thinking about customer relationship management, usability or cross-channel marketing, you’re likely doing your audience and your business a disservice. By understanding the ways in which your users interact with your brand in the digital space, you are much more likely to be successful in your digital marketing efforts.

4. Mobile Marketing is No Longer Optional

The use of mobile marketing will continue to be one of key digital trends in 2016. In order for your website and supporting marketing materials to be effective, they must lend themselves to an easy, streamlined mobile experience.

Trust us; geo-targeting, social advertising and responsive design are not just passing fads. As marketers learn more about the ways users interact with their mobile devices, they will continue to push the envelope of mobile marketing – and it’s important that your business doesn’t fall behind.

From responsive design to social and content marketing, TKG has the skills and resources to help you prepare your online presence for the New Year. Contact a member of our team to discuss your digital needs for the upcoming year.

Have other predictions for 2016’s biggest digital trends? Share them in the comments!

Own the Space You’re In

When it comes to effective content marketing, it’s important to establish your brand as a trusted resource for content that is relevant to your industry. Instead of creating content that is just trying to make a sale, try creating relevant content your audience actually wants to seek out. Whether your content is educational, helpful, entertaining or persuasive, you need to make sure it resonates with your audience and stands out from the competition.

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Ways to own the space you’re in:

Brand Journalism
By writing your own authoritative content or curating articles from reputable third party sources, you are able to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. If there are no editorial authorities in your area of expertise, start your own conversation – possibly through a blog, podcast or video series.

Social Media
Consistent and compelling social media is one of the best ways to gain exposure to your editorial brand content. Effective social media is visual, interactive and draws users in with headlines that make them curious to learn more. Don’t expect these messages to lead directly to sales; this content adds value in a different way. It helps tell your brand’s story and explains how that story fits into your audience’s interests and lifestyle.

Audience Focus
When you set your content strategy, don’t just think about ways your content will help you sell products or generate leads. Think about the types of information your customers will actually find useful. If you are a razor company, try creating content about men’s heath and grooming (Dollar Shave Club does this really well). If you are a clothing retailer, try creating fashion and lifestyle content (Modcloth is a leader in this space). By creating content that your audience actually wants to interact with, you will make huge strides in establishing brand recognition and customer loyalty.

To sum it up, we recommend content that meets your audience where they are. Your audience wants you to speak to them in a way that is informative, engaging and not overtly promotional. Trust us, when you give them the content they want, your audience will return the favor with likes, comments, shares and repeat purchases.

Want to own the space you’re in? Contact TKG and discover new ways to elevate your digital presence.

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5 Ways to Generate Content Easily

Sometimes even the most experienced writers hit content roadblocks. Authoring new and original content is hard work, and after a while, the inspiration stops coming. So when your well of words dries up, and you’re desperate for new content, try out a few of these painless content generation ideas:

Get your audience to create content for you
Ask your audience to take selfies with your product or tell a story about your brand’s impact on their lives. When they share these moments on social media, it will reach your network and theirs.

Recycle old content into something new
Take an old post and rework it into something that’s relevant today. When you add #TBT to an engaging post from back in the day – voila! – You have a brand new piece of content.

Develop case studies
When you can’t think of anything new to say, go to your customers. Ask them about past experiences, and retell their stories online. Case studies help you build transparency, and are relatively painless to create.

Curate content from other trusted sources
Go to trusted news outlets or trade publications for relevant content that makes sense for your target audience. Curating content from respected sources helps build credibility, and all you have to do is post a link and your take on it.

Respond to your audience
Whether it’s on social media, in comment sections, in blog posts or through contact forms, customers are always reaching out. It takes very little effort to respond to these comments, and personal responses could help you build lasting relationships with your audience.

Trust us, these content generation techniques are painless, and they will offer a lot more value to your customers than a silly meme or cat picture. (But, we like those too. Sometimes.)

3 Reasons Pinterest is Good for Business

If you’re like me, Facebook is where you go to creep on people you went to high school with, Twitter is where you go for news and current events, Instagram is where you go for cute pictures of cats and dogs, and Pinterest is where you go to get inspired.

pinterestWhat makes Pinterest so unique is that it creates a desire to explore and engage. When users see a delicious recipe, they want to eat it. When they see a DIY project, they want to try it. When they see a nail polish color they like, they want to buy it. Pinterest is visual, product-focused and interactive, and if you use it correctly, it can be a marketer’s dream. Here’s why:

  1. Pinners have purchase intent – When pinners browse product boards, they are actually looking for things they want to buy. Pins that incorporate pictures, prices, availability and reviews typically do well because they offer all of the information pinners need to make a purchase.
  2. Pinterest helps you understand your audience – Pinterest boards tell hand-crafted stories about what pinners care about. When you know what users have pinned in the past, it’s easy to target them with similar products moving forward.
  3. Repins connect you with new audiences – Pinterest connects people through shared interests. If a user repins your product, it instantly gets visibility from an entirely new audience that might be interested. It’s like word of mouth marketing, but this word of mouth connects directly to your e-commerce site.

Although it may have a reputation as a crafter’s dreamland, Pinterest is a serious marketing tool that can lead to very real business results. Try it out, and see for yourself!

5 Ways Businesses Are Using Creative Content to Increase Engagement

If you are a business on social media, chances are you are always looking for new ways to boost engagement. When you want to increase your likes, shares and comments without increasing your social media budget, your best bet is to develop creative and unexpected content.

Here are five ways that successful brands have leveraged creative content to increase customer engagement:

  1. Dove tugs on your heartstrings – The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty utilizes creative advertising strategies like the ultra-popular Real Beauty Sketches video to change women’s perceptions of beauty.These viral marketing tactics are more than just shallow ploys for likes and shares. Dove delivers sharable content that shows a profound understanding of its target audience.
  2. Lays wants to know what you think – The original Lays Do Us a Flavor contest was one of the most successful and recognizable examples of user-generated content in social media history. The contest asked users to invent new potato chip flavors and vote to keep to best flavors around.Although the Do Us a Flavor campaign was great at generating engagement, the caveat to user-generated content is that it typically requires a pretty hefty incentive for participation (In this case, a $1 million cash prize).
  3. Coca-Cola stops you in your tracks – The Coca-Cola Happiness Machine surprises customers with free drinks and other unexpected gifts. This unique vending machine forces customers to stop what they are doing and share some happiness with the people around them.Coca-Cola brilliantly uses hidden cameras to document these happiness exchanges and publishes the videos on YouTube. These videos help spread Coca-Cola happiness and engagement in the social space.
  4. Arby’s and Oreo watch what you watch – Real-time content creation helps users see brands as more relevant members of their social communities. Who can forget the Oreo dunk in the dark tweet, or Arby’s genius response to Pharrell’s hat at the 2014 Grammy’s?The catch with real time marketing is that you should only interact during events that make sense for your brand; otherwise you might end up confusing your audience.
  5. Taco Bell has a life of its own – When brands have strong personalities on social media; they are able to build lasting relationships with their target audience. Taco bell knows that it is a fast-food restaurant and its audience is not super interested in gluten or calorie counting. It embraces this persona and runs with it in all of its communication.A little personification can go a long way in developing brand loyalty. Customers and social media users want brands to post content they can relate to, and Taco Bell totally nails it.

Social media users won’t engage with content just because a brand follows best practice guidelines. Users want to engage with brands that understand them, and produce content that makes them feel something. Creative content is a quick and effective way to boost engagement, as long as you do it in a way that makes sense for your brand.

4 Reasons Why Your Content Should Be Helpful (and Not Try for a Sale)

These days, consumers are better than ever at tuning out promotional messages. Ad-averse customers DVR their favorite shows and fast-forward through commercials, they flip past the first few pages in their magazines, and they avoid the banners on their computer, tablet and mobile screens.

ContentIn order to cut through the noise and reach your target audience, it’s important to offer relevant content with real value. Here are a few reasons your content should be helpful, and not try for a sale:

  1. You’ll reach your audience – Your audience won’t tune you out if your messages are rich with relevant content and not overly promotional.
  2. Users will engage with your content – If users like your content, they will reward you with follows, shares, retweets and comments.
  3. Valuable content helps build credibility and brand equity – Consumers respond to brands they can relate to. If they feel like your brand offers real value, they will trust you and become your advocates.
  4. Your audience will seek you out – Your audience will check up on your website and social channels to see what you post next. Your brand will be a valuable voice in their ear, and they will come back to you over and over again.

Customers want as much information as they can get before they buy, but they are immediately turned off by sales pitches and branded messaging. Your content should incorporate valuable information like customer reviews, frequently asked questions and third-party articles, without pressuring them to buy. Trust us – your audience will reward you for your top-notch content.

 

Starting Out at TKG

Molly VignosLast week I graduated college, moved back home and started my first “big-girl” job at The Karcher Group. It was definitely a whirlwind, but I wanted to jump into the real world head first, and TKG seemed like the perfect place to get started.

I’m filling a brand new role at TKG as an Online Marketing/Content Specialist, and I am so grateful for the opportunity. While most of my classmates are taking time off and planning their next moves, I am settling into my dream job. It’s kind of surreal.

In college, I majored in journalism with a focus on advertising and public relations. My new position allows me to utilize the writing, research and strategy I learned in school, while I add web marketing skills to my arsenal. TKG didn’t waste any time putting me to work, assigning me new website pages to write, social media content to create and marketing reports to develop. Every day I have exciting projects to work on and opportunities to gain new skills.

The stimulating work is merely one of many perks at TKG. I also get to work with some pretty awesome people every day. Sure, the development guys occasionally launch a brain in my direction, and I’ve embarrassed myself pretty severely on the pool table, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying a single day at TKG thus far.

The Karcher Group has welcomed me with open arms, and I’m having a blast getting to know everyone. There is always someone popping over to my desk to ask me how I’m doing or to chat about the impending TKG camping trip. I may be new to this, but I’m excited to see where my journey with TKG takes me. This is truly an incredible place to work, and I’m thrilled to join the team.

This entry was posted in At TKG.